From 351, to 68, to one. From the first tip-off on November 10th, to the last shining moment on April 2nd, the 2017-18 NCAA basketball season has now officially come and gone.
But for those who make college basketball a 365-day-a-year obsession, that just means the 2018-19 season is here.
Here are all the dates you need to know in the coming weeks and months.
April 5 – Recruiting dead period ends
During the Final Four, schools are under an NCAA-mandated “dead period.” Here’s what that means:
During a dead period a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. Coaches may write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during a dead period.
Starting Thursday, it’s back to regular recruiting. Coaches can have face-to-face contact with prospects and their parents, and visit prospects’ high schools. There’s another dead period from April 9–12, because...
April 11 – National Signing Period begins
Coaches will be busy closing out their 2018 recruiting classes.
Like college football adopted this year, the college basketball recruiting cycle includes two signing periods for players to sign their National Letters of Intent. The first period is in the fall, right around the beginning of the season. The second comes hot on the heels of the NCAA Tournament. Beginning April 11th, players who will enroll in college for the 2018-19 season can sign with their schools of choice.
Back in November, UVA signed Kihei Clark and Kody Stattmann. It’s not impossible another signing could materialize, but Cavalier fans should not expect one.
While the official ink is only for 2018 enrollees, there’s usually plenty of action for the next class around this time as well. Two of Virginia’s top 2019 targets—guard Casey Morsell and power forward Eric Dixon—will both be announcing their commitments in early to mid-April.
April 4th #TheNextChapter— Casey Morsell (@CaseyMorsell) April 2, 2018
2019 PF Eric Dixon will make his decision before the first April live period. Virginia, Villanova and Seton Hall all heavily involved; also being told he's expected to add a Louisville offer (Chris Mack had offered him at Xavier).— Josh Verlin (@jmverlin) March 31, 2018
April 20 – Evaluation period begins
For the last two weekends in April, coaches can attend tournaments where prospects are playing—but cannot have face-to-face contact with the prospects at said tournaments. (Just in case you were starting to think recruiting rules are transparent and straightforward.) The two April evaluation periods are April 20–22 and April 27–29.
April 22 – NBA Draft early eligibility deadline
[DEANDRE HUNTER: STOP READING NOW, NOTHING FOR YOU TO SEE HERE]
Any underclassmen who want to declare for the NBA Draft have until 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, April 22, to file their paperwork and get into the process. That gives them a little bit more than three weeks to get ready for...
May 16–20 – NBA Draft combine
Working out in front of their potential future bosses.
The combine—held in Chicago this year—is book-ended by another recruiting dead period. After players go through workouts, interviews, and the rest of the draft process, it’s decision time three weeks later.
June 11 – Deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from NBA Draft
This is where the rubber hits the road, on a lot of fronts. The NBA-caliber guys have to be officially in or officially out of the NBA Draft.
With the recruiting classes finalized and NBA prospects decided, other players can look ahead to what their program’s roster might look like in the fall and decide whether they want to get on the transfer market. Many players will have done so already by this point; for players pondering a graduate transfer, they should know by early May whether they’re on track to get their degree.
There are no formal dates around the transfer market, and a lot of those decisions are made fairly quickly. For instance, Nigel Johnson announced his decision to come to UVA by the Saturday after the Final Four last year.
September 25 – First permissible practice day
Then the long slog back to basketball begins, through four months of sweltering heat and nothing but baseball to watch until the good Lord blesses us with the manna that is football season. (Although this year, the FBI could give us plenty of basketball news through the summer.)
The Division I Council approved legislation to move the start of the 2018-19 season up to November 6th instead of November 9th. Each team’s first practice can take place 42 days before the program’s first game.
Whether it’s Midnight Madness or just another practice, it’ll mean good news: BASKETBALL WILL BE BACK, BABY!